The next best thing: how well do secondary forests preserve biodiversity?

Secondary forests, which are areas that were previously cleared of old-growth cover, now comprise the majority of the forested areas in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere. A heavily debated issue is to what extent secondary forests are able to contribute to the preservation of biodiversity. In an article published in PLOS ONE, a group of researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute led by Michiel van Breugel evaluated the biodiversity preservation potential of secondary forests. However, while they found that secondary forests can provide suitable homes for broad arrays of species, the true biodiversity potential of these forests is often limited by cycles of reclearing.